The Challenge of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) presented by Exec Dir Ramon Alikpala National Water Resources Board Regional Conference for Southeast Asia Rainwater Harvesting in IWRM 25 November 2008
What is IWRM? Integrated management means that all the different uses of water resources are considered together. Water allocations and management decisions consider the effects of each use on the others. They are able to take account of overall social and economic goals, including the achievement of sustainable development. IWRM & participatory decision making As we shall see, the basic IWRM concept has been extended to incorporate participatory decision-making. A clear example of interdependent uses of water. Scroll the picture to view different users of water.
What is IWRM? Deliberate management of resources is needed to ensure long term sustainable use... Management is used in its broadest sense. It emphasises that we must not only focus on development of water resources but that we must consciously manage water development in a way that ensures long term sustainable use for future generations. IWRM is a systematic process. Integrated water resources management is a systematic process for the sustainable development, allocation and monitoring of water resource use in the context of social, economic and environmental objectives. It is different from the sectoral approach applied in many countries... ...for future generations...
Why IWRM? Key issues in management Water governance crisis Sectoral approaches to water resources management have dominated in the past and are still prevailing. This leads to fragmented and uncoordinated development and management of the resource. Increased competition... Increased competition for the finite resource is aggravated by inefficient governance.
Why IWRM? Key issues in management Securing water for people One fifth of the world’s population is without access to safe drinking water and half of the population is without access to adequate sanitation. Securing water for food production Over the next 25 years food will be required for another 2-3 billion people. Water is increasingly seen as a key constraint on food production… Protecting vital ecosystems Aquatic ecosystems depend on water flows, seasonality and water-table fluctuations and are threatened by poor water quality. Land and water resources management must ensure that vital ecosystems are maintained.
Why IWRM? Key issues in management Gender disparities Water management is male dominated. Though their numbers are starting to grow, the representation of women in water sector institutions is still very low. Who decides? Decisions on water supply and sanitation technologies, locations of water points and operation and maintenance systems are mostly made by men.
Water Management Principles Since water sustains life, effective management of water resources demands a holistic approach, linking social and economic development with protection of natural ecosystems. Effective management links land and water uses across the whole of a catchment area or groundwater aquifer. Fresh water is a finite and vulnerable resource, essential to sustain life, development and the environment.
Water Management Principles The participatory approach involves raising awareness of the importance of water among policy-makers and the general public. It means that decisions are taken at the lowest appropriate level, with full public consultation and involvement of users in the planning and implementation of water projects. Water development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and policymakers at all levels.
Water Management Principles This pivotal role of women as providers and users of water and guardians of the living environment has seldom been reflected in institutional arrangements for the development and management of water resources. Positive policies Acceptance and implementation of this principle requires positive policies to address women’s specific needs and to equip and empower women to participate at all levels in water resources programmes, including decision-making and implementation, in ways defined by them. Women play a central part in the provision, management and safeguarding of water
Water Management Principles It is vital to recognise first the basic right of all human beings to have access to clean water and sanitation at an affordable price. Water has a value as an economic good as well as a social good. Many past failures in water resources management are attributable to the fact that the full value of water has not been recognised and has led to wasteful and environmentally damaging uses of the resource. Allocation Treating water as an economic good is an important means for decision making on the allocation of water. This is particularly important when extending supply is no longer a feasible option. Water has an economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognised as an economic good.
The Process: Implementing IWRM IWRM is, above all, a philosophy. The challenge to conventional practices The case for IWRM is strong – many would say uncontestable. The problem for most countries is the long history of unisectoral development. As the Global Water Partnership puts it : “IWRM is a challenge to conventional practices, attitudes and professional certainties. It confronts entrenched sectoral interests and requires that the water resource is managed holistically for the benefits of all. No one pretends that meeting the IWRM challenge will be easy but it is vital that a start is made now to avert the burgeoning crisis.”
The Process: Implementing IWRM Negotiating differences All of this implies change, which brings threats as well as opportunities. There are threats to people’s power and position; and threats to their sense of themselves as professionals. IWRM requires that platforms be developed to allow very different stakeholders, often with apparently irreconcilable differences to somehow work together. Cross sectoral integration A critically important element of IWRM is the integration of views and interests of the various water users in the management framework (see Figure). Formal mechanisms and means of co-operation and information exchange should be established at different levels.
The Process: Implementing IWRM IWRM requires reform Because of the existing institutional and legislative frameworks, implementing IWRM is likely to require reform at all stages in the water planning and management cycle. This is a question of moving toward a situation with the right enabling environment , institutional framework and management instruments (see figure) for sustainable water resources development and management. Step-by-step process Implementation of IWRM is best done in a step-by-step process, with some changes taking place immediately and others requiring several years of planning and capacity building.
Policy and Legal Framework An overall plan An overall plan is required to envisage how the transformation can be achieved and this is likely to begin with a new water policy to reflect the principles of sustainable management of water resources. To put the policy into practice is likely to require the reform of water law and water institutions. This can be a long process and needs to involve extensive consultations with affected agencies and the public.
Institutional Framework Role of the government as facilitator and regulator For many reasons, developing country governments consider water resources planning and management to be a central part of government responsibility. This view is consistent with the international consensus that promotes the concept of government as a facilitator and regulator, rather than an implementer of projects. Agreeing on the level of government involvement The challenge is to reach mutual agreement about the level at which, in any specific instance, government responsibility should cease, or be partnered by autonomous water services management bodies and/or community-based organisations What are the roles of government and institutions in IWRM?